I’ve often wondered what it would look like for us to actually heed these instructions. There is ample opportunity in our world to encounter a belligerent person, an aggressive exchange, or an unexpected confrontation. How can we be expected to absorb the seemingly inexhaustible blows from the relentless assault of our culture? Whether it is a direct violation by an actual person face to face or a passive aggressive assault from a keyboard warrior, the answer is less elusive than expected and frustratingly simple…we must see people the way that God sees people. To do this, we have to personalize these concepts by swallowing what may be one of the most uncomfortable realities…we are the ones most often delivering blows. It is I who agrees with the enemy every time I sin, it is I who agrees with the enemy when I assume myself to be superior to another person, and it is my participation with evil as I continually contravene the instruction of the Lord that delivers the blows. Yes indeed every blow I deliver lands squarely on the back of Jesus as he takes lashes for my sin on his way to the Cross. Then, I expect him not to retaliate, I expect him to show me grace, and yes I expect him to turn the other cheek. You see, If we expect out of Jesus that which we are not willing to give to one another, are we anything other than the most thorough of hypocrites? Alas, we must, as Jesus has done for us, see through the caustic message, the aggressive slander, or the physical invasion of a person participating in the deeds seeded by the enemy. Yes, we must see past it all to the hurting child inside of those that would come against us and have the compassion on them that Jesus has for us. He took the blows and turned back with a gaze of sacrificial love…and so we also must look upon people with not a glare of contempt, but a countenance of compassion. God I pray for this to be so in us in the name of Jesus, Amen.
““You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”